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The star signs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In the beginning, there were alignments. Then there were Hogwarts houses. And then there was BDE.
When it comes to judging your favorite characters, these are all very fine and worthy metrics, but isn’t it time we went back to the metrics that mattered? You know, the stars?
With their hands determinedly covering up the birthdates of your favorite characters, FANGRRLS Clare and Sara set out to assign star signs to all your faves, one franchise at a time.
In this edition, Sara and Clare take the bus back to the Hellmouth.
Clare: For once in our astrological careers, the canonical sign of a character aligns with their true sign. Buffy Anne Summers was canonically unleashed on the world on January 19, 1981, which is the very last day a baby can enroll as a Capricorn.
Sara: Other accurately predicted fictional birthdays include Maria Hill as an Aries and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, who is a Virgo.
Clare: OBVIOUSLY A VIRGO. Despite Buffy's characteristic humor, she takes her job as Slayer deadly serious. Heck, she takes everything seriously. When Dawn manifests into her life, she feels responsible for her, and she certainly does the requisite follow-ups when she and Willow activate all of the potential Slayers. You would probably take Slaying this seriously too; it's not exactly a job that encourages a healthy work/life balance.
Sara: Capricorns are great project leaders though they sometimes look at the rest of the world and wonder why they're all so very bad at their jobs. Sound familiar, Buffy? Definitely the achiever of her crew.
Clare: Buffy is the queen of '90s teen snark. And '90s teen snark? It is incredibly mean. It's a defensive mechanism that posits a narrative that the speaker is superior to the other person, persons, or situation in every way. I don't think Buffy would, if asked point blank, say she's superior, but you know that's what she's thinking. Especially after she finds out that she's going to go to heaven when she dies no matter what.
Sara: I love when Buffy takes control like "this is what we're doing because it's what I just decided we're doing so I guess we'd better start doing it because it's what we're doing."
Clare: The fine art of bulldozing without seeming like you are; truly, she is the Slayer.
Clare: Oh, Willow. While watching a few episodes to reacquaint myself with the Scoobies' dynamic, my heart broke a little for Willow. I'm used to Alyson Hannigan as How I Met Your Mother's dynamite Lily, so seeing her as such a little wallflower doing everything she can to take care of her friends, usually at her own expense… she's just such a loyal, tender Cancer! I want to protect her!
Sara: She looks like her clothes are very soft and she's always about to cry. See, this is how she gets away with stuff later, everyone is like "but she's just a dandelion of a person." No! She will use too much magic and say mean things to her girlfriend later.
Clare: Willow is wishy-washy, but she does have strength in her core. It takes a lot to deal with vampires and demons on a daily basis without losing your mind! It just takes a lot for Willow to reach her breaking point. Like, I don't know, her girlfriend getting murdered by local unhinged misogynist Warren? Something like that, and then it's full Phoenix Force, baby.
Sara: That season where we just kept cutting away to dialogue with a gang of incels and then we got a deceased Tara for our troubles just about made me go Phoenix Force, too. I also wore black for several episodes of my own life.
Clare: There's this really great early Xena: Warrior Princess episode that ends with Joxer's modern incarnation pitching Xena to the show's actual producer. Modern!Joxer looks, sounds, and behaves exactly like Xander. And spoiler alert: I hate Joxer, so that should tell you exactly how I feel about one Alexander Harris.
Sara: Yes! Xander and Joxer have one major personality trait and that is that they both take up massive amounts of space in a narrative. If you've ever been in the presence of a Chaotic Evil brand Gemini, that last part is going to sound pretty familiar to you.
Clare: In the cold light of 2020, he just seems like such a Nice Guy (TM). He pines after Buffy, assaults her in "The Pack", is willing to get a love potion to get Cordelia back, and abandons Anya at the altar instead of, I don't know, TALKING TO HER ABOUT HIS FEELINGS? Like, his core struggle of being insecure given his role as The Normal in a group of supernaturally powerful friends does deserve sympathy, but also Avatar: The Last Airbender did this entire thing SO MUCH BETTER with Sokka's arc. People call Aries the baby of the zodiac (I JUST CRY A LOT OKAY), but the dark side of Gemini covers this particular brand of immaturity.
Sara: He also starts sentences with absolutely no plan as to where they're going so again, we love Geminis, but if you've ever been around a Bad Gemini you know what we're saying here.
Clare: Every sign has a good version of itself and a bad version of itself. Like, when Xander gets SO ANGRY at Anya because she sleeps with Spike after he leaves her at the altar? To the degree that he's like "HOW COULD YOU SLEEP WITH THAT… THAT THING! YOU DISGUST ME!" Which is such slutshaming language that Buffy runs off, because she's also been sleeping with Spike. And the show is like "ohhh he's just angry, men just do this stuff what are you gonna do?" And I'm just "WHY! IS! HE! HERE!" That's a Bad Gemini.
Sara: Random jealousy after totally screwing up? Have you seen the movie Purple Rain starring Gemini Prince? Because it's pretty much about that only with a really good soundtrack and better jokes. Xander has got to up his game.
Clare: Can you imagine if Prince had been in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Clare: Okay, Geminis, here's where we make it up to you, with someone so good she literally Ascends upon dying. Ta-da!
Sara: Yay! I'm so excited to love Geminis again. They are kind of the greatest, and nowhere is that more clear than with Cordelia, who has probably the best dialogue of all the Scoobies until she departs the show and joins the cast of Angel so that she can have the best dialogue over there. Geminis are the freaking BEST at talking.
Clare: Cordy first comes on as a prototypical Queen Bee, but, despite being the Scoobies' other token normal initially, she has an inner confidence that Xander lacks, though they both share the Gemini's fondness for being blunt.
Sara: She'll talk about you in front of your back.
Clare: Sure, she might not have any supernatural powers (until she gets visions smooched into her and becomes a half-demon of course!), but she's whip-smart. She might be a jack-of-all-trades rather than a master of any specific ones, but that kind of Gemini curiosity works in her favor. It's her idea for Angel to open a business fighting evil, and that show ran for five seasons!
Sara: Cordelia Chase, you deserve all the stars in the sky.
Clare: A thousand kisses to the heavens for you, Cordelia Chase! Mwah mwah mwah mwah.
Clare: Point of order: we are talking about Angel specifically, because the Angel/Angelus split is so pronounced as to be basically Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He's sort of the ultimate in handsome brooding bad boys: his bad side is a straight up monster, but his good side is worth it, right? He just needs the love of a good woman to change (caveat: do not try this at home)! So dark… so brooding… so Scorpio…
Sara: Those scenes where he's just doing Tai Chi in a crypt all day while brooding and thinking about his weird relationship is honestly the most Scorpio thing I've ever heard of.
Clare: Excellent brooders, I've always said. He is very dedicated to doing as much good as he possibly can, to atone for the whole "breaking every human law" thing.
Sara: It's true, he does try his best while being extremely sad, and that's no small feat.
Sara: Tara is the best character, other than Anya.
Clare: Can you imagine being a powerful witch dating another powerful witch and then you just get shot to death with a regular gun? I would be so mad if I was a powerful witch and my demise did not involve getting ensorceled into a tree or something. So mad.
Sara: That whole thing is where I started to check out though because Tara was holding up that show for me. I had a huge crush on Tara when this show was first on. Yes, had. Had, in the past tense, as in I no longer do. As in I would not leave my wife for her. Unless she asked me.
Clare: Honestly, even though I love them as the ultimate in soft, shy '90s in love girls, I do love that Tara breaks up with Willow when she gets addicted to magic and starts trying to pull an About Time on her. (WHAT IS WITH EVERYONE AND CONSENT ON THIS SHOW?) They do reconcile shortly afterwards, but it shows that while Tara is quiet, she’s not a complete pushover.
Sara: Tara definitely told Willow to get lost and it was awesome. You know what being gay and assertive at the same time means in the '90s, though — she had to die. My alternate reality fanfic is that Tara doesn't die but Willow does still start dressing like a low-budget villain from an '80s wizard movie.
Clare: Giles is what happens when a well-prepared Virgo enters their 40s. Exquisitely educated, modest, and yet better than pretty much anyone else in their general vicinity.
Sara: I love a judgey earth sign in a tweed jacket.
Clare: He's mysterious. Part of the reason the reveal that Giles spent the seventies experimenting with dark magic and leather jackets is so effective is because Giles is so buttoned-up and mild-mannered.
Sara: On the inside all Virgos are wearing leather jackets and experimenting with dark magic. Outside, it's tweed as far as the eye can see.
Clare: SO TRUE. He's also very willing to get his hands dirty to complete the mission when other people fall through. When Buffy bails on the Big Bad at the end of the first season, Giles is like, "oh, sigh, I suppose I'll have to do it." Oh, and then there's that time he strangles a man to death after Buffy refuses.
Sara: Giles is that nerd that sometimes does something hardcore out of nowhere and I gotta say I respect it. He's also the person on the show I could talk to the most about books.
Sara: Anya, truly, you were the best among us, and all you got out of it was a quick death and a recurring role in comics as a ghost that can only be seen or talked to by your ex, which is actually what I imagine Hell to be like.
Clare: A vengeance demon who differentiates herself in the marketplace by exclusively focusing on carrying out vengeance for women wronged by men? I already like her.
Sara: Yes, she is the absolute best. Anya walks in, casually insults everyone without trying to, and then walks back out the door. Her only weakness is dating the very worst men. Um, and rabbits, of course.
Clare: Like many a Sag (see fellow Sag Cheryl Blossom), Anya has no knack for tact. She just says things and everybody just has to deal. Unlike many a Sag, some of it stems from being a vengeance demon forcibly turned back into a human having to figure out human stuff on the fly. But only, like, 20% of it.
Sara: I like how the moral of Anya’s story is that it’s wrong to take unmitigated vengeance on random terrible dudes but then by the end we're all kind of like, is it though?
Clare: It's a concept that’s certainly aged better than some aspects of this show.